UNCOUTH YOUTH: A REVIEW OF ‘SUPERBAD’
Getting the girl can be hard work. Believe me, I know.
That being said, the beauty of Superbad is that is presents a recognizable retrospect for those of us who are no longer teenagers, and it also illustrates that nothing has changed for the less-than-graceful years between 13 and 17.
When I started high school, I was a hyperactive honors student/jock hybrid with short feathered hair and braces. By senior year, my hair was down to my hips, I was the lead in the musical, and somehow ended up on the prom court. Trust me, that visual requires a giant stretch of the imagination in reverse. Anyway, I never felt cool or popular, especially with the boys (which makes sense now, but certainly didn’t at the time). My point? I’m a fan of teen movies and TV shows, many of which have stemmed from the mind of Judd Apatow. He not only produced Superbad and wrote/directed both Knocked Up and The 40 Year Old Virgin, Apatow also produced/wrote/directed canceled cult shows Freaks & Geeks and Undeclared.
All of this is to say that I understand and appreciate the awkward years of youth. And clearly Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg do as well. They co-wrote Superbad, which features the best onscreen representation of floundering teenage boys in years. Rogen and Goldberg offer up very thinly-veiled versions of their younger selves (the characters names are…Seth and Evan). We all knew guys like Seth and Evan, and some of us were them, on many levels.
Jonah Hill (who has lost a LOT of weight since Accepted) plays Seth, the slightly bulky and extremely undersexed senior with a penchant for phallic illustrations and yelling with great exasperation. I couldn’t help but imagine the character of Seth as a 17 year old Ben Stone, Rogen’s character in Knocked Up. Besides the physical similarities, the stunted maturation fits the mold.
Seth’s best friend Evan is played by the unflappable Michael Cera from Arrested Development, which was yet another in a long line of my favorite shows that have been prematurely canceled. Cera is quite talented; he embodies and has mastered the art of bumbling boy far better than any of his contemporaries. I really hope that Superbad elevates his profile and Cera is offered opportunities above and beyond the gawky teen typecast.
I can’t help but compare Superbad to Knocked Up, especially when some of the same cast and crew had their hand in the creation of it. I laughed out loud far more during Knocked Up, but I would recommend Superbad as a funny, dirty alternative to the shit sequels that have polluted our summer. It is a very entertaining film, but not one that needs to be seen in the theater.
In short (too late?), visualize the angst of My So-Called Life, but with a sense of humor and a more horny/less brooding Jordan Catalano.